Most of us have been on the receiving end of broken promises. A friend betrays us, a husband fails his promise to love us, a parent abandons us. Over and over again we experience broken promises. These are deep hurts and wounds that lead us to attempt to take care of ourselves, and question God’s care for us. These places of pain and unhealed wounds lead us to attempt to control everything. We don’t want to get hurt again.
Both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the promise that she would become pregnant. Similarly, we find ourselves laughing at God to hide our doubt and protect ourselves from disappointment. Both Abram and Sarai tried to secure the promise through Ishmael. They took things into their own hands, and we often follow their example through detours and deception. Our actions reveal that we are asking ourselves the question, what if God’s promises won’t hold?
But God does not make his promises with the expectation that we will fulfill them. He isn’t cruel, he won’t abandon us, and he never fails. God does what he says he will do.
In his grace, God doesn’t allow us to minimize or guarantee his promises for ourselves. He is the guarantor of his promises. And he meets us in our distrust and when we try taking things into our own hands. He does not allow us to dismiss or secure his promises to us.
The most important promise of all, our salvation, he also guarantees. We cannot lose this salvation, nor can we earn it. God is the one who holds the promise of salvation as a gift by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8–9). And he seals it by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). This gift gives us the freedom to trust God, the security to grow in faith, and the charge to be a blessing to others.
God first said to Abram that his promises and covenant would be so that Abram and his descendants would be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2). Today, we are recipients of that blessing (Galatians 3:14)!
This gift of salvation and all the other promises of God are just that—gifts. When we see them in this way, we grow in our own generosity. When we receive what we have been given as a gift and guarantee from God rather than something we guaranteed for ourselves, we can live in a freedom that blesses others.